Texas Prisons Are Losing Guards To More Lucrative Oilfield Work

Nov 15, 2017

Credit Mitch Ames / Wikimedia Commons

The recent resurgence of Texas oil markets is causing some Texas prison guards to leave their jobs for the more lucrative work in the oilfields.

As The Houston Chronicle reports, in the last year alone, the state prison system has seen a remarkable 28 percent turnover rate.

Almost one in eight prison jobs remain unfilled, and the total number of empty prison positions is now over 3,000. Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jason Clark said the problem is most pronounced in rural areas.

While oil resurgence partly explains the problem, the energy markets aren’t the entire reason for prison defections. For example, the Panhandle counties of Hartley and Dallam aren’t known for oil and gas, yet in that area, would-be prison workers are being drawn away by a cheese factory in Dalhart.

In the last fiscal year, Hartley County prisons saw a staggering turnover rate of nearly 60 percent.